Tag: Athens

First (Greece) impressions don’t always count

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (if not, why not?!) you’ll know I’ve recently returned from a 10 day trip to Greece.

This was split into two parts; 3 nights in Athens on mainland Greece, and 7 nights on the island of Santorini. It had been in the planning, technically, for 13 years; the Santorini part, at least, since we first got together. I included it on a travel bucket list a couple of years back. The Athens part was an add on – a “makes sense to do it while we’re in the area”, if you will. .

Oh, and it was also our 10th wedding anniversary trip. No pressure then!

So, here’s the deal. When you build something up in your head, you want it to be perfect, right? And when it’s not immediately perfect, it freaks you out, right?

Welcome to our holiday to Greece.

Athens

We arrived in Athens and it was raining – strike 1. The hotel room looked nothing like the pictures on the website – strike 2 (although kudos to their photographer for polishing what wasn’t quite a turd, but wasn’t the luxurious dwelling we’d been led to expect).

Although it did have the promised Acropolis view from the balcony.

View of the Acropolis from the Metropolis Hotel in Athens

The husband couldn’t get a draught Mythos (Greek beer) as we sheltered from the rain – strike 3.

It wasn’t the positive start to our trip I’d hoped for.

Now, whilst this is completely irrational (as am I), when things don’t go smoothly on holiday I feel responsible. As the organiser it’s my responsibility to make it great. I know I can’t control everything (e.g the weather), but I also take that as a personal affront. It’s one of my quirks.

But when the sun came out and a rainbow appeared, I hoped for the best!

Rainbow from balcony at Metropolis Hotel Athens

Santorini

Fast forward then 3 days, to our arrival on the beautiful island of Santorini. Our pre-booked private transfer wasn’t at the airport when we arrived – strike 1. Once again our hotel room wasn’t as expected – strike 2. But the biggest kick in the teeth of all, Oia, the “village” we were staying in, was really really crowded. Uncomfortably so. There were selfie sticks, and walking tours, and cruise ship visitors desperately trying to cram in the essence of the island in a few short hours.

Obviously you can’t tell from these pictures!

View of white buildings, sea and caldera islands in Oia Santorini

Caldera view from Oia Santorini

But neither of us felt the burst of love we’d hoped for after 13 years of wanting to visit.

It was gutting.

The outcome

I’ll save you the sleepless nights until I share my full travel posts, but it all ended well. Better than well, in fact. The Athens room was just a base, so not the end of the world. The beer got better. We saw some amazing sights. And, as for Santorini, the room was really really nice, once we adjusted our pre-conceived expectations. And Oia is the most beautiful place I have EVER been to in my life. It’s just a case of timing it right and avoiding the crowds, which we managed on multiple occasions.

Stay tuned for more…

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

5 things on my to do list while I’m “between jobs”

Garden leave is quite a strange animal, because technically I’m being paid to do nothing (thank you previous employer), but I feel a bit like I should be doing something.  That’s not to say I’ve been sleeping in most of the day and then sitting on my ass for the rest of it, but I do feel guilty for whiling away portions of time on mindless stuff, even though I’m entitled to take a break and I’m still earning money and paying my bills.

That said, here are some targets I’ve set myself to complete while I’m off. All attainable; some more serious than others!

1 – Get a job

Although it goes without saying, this has to be number one on my list. I’ve been scouring job listings, set up job alerts to be notified of new roles that are of interest to me, and registered with some agencies. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I don’t have to jump into the first thing that comes along, and I want to find a role that is right for me, right for my CV and right for my future, but I also appreciate that “the perfect job” doesn’t exist and I’ll probably need to make some sacrifices.

2 – Give the blog a makeover

This little old corner of the internet has existed in its current incarnation for almost 3 and a half years, and while I’ve remained (fairly) consistent with writing content, I haven’t paid any attention to it’s appearance. A couple of years ago I went self hosted, but it was right around the time my Dad got very sick, and then he died, and I just didn’t have the mental capacity to deal with the new stuff, so I carried on using free WordPress and just let the other subscription lapse. Now I have lots of time on my hands so a shiny new theme is in order at the very least. Also thinking of upgrading to paid WordPress for more flexibility, analytics, etc so any tips gratefully received!

3 – Watch all of the Harry Potter films

Bit of a light hearted one this! I took my sister to Harry Potter World for her 21st birthday back in March and, up until 4 days before, I hadn’t seen 1 film! So I binge watched the first 3 and off we went.

Making of Harry Potter

The visit was magical (I must do a blog post about it) but obviously there were things I didn’t really understand. I intended to watch the rest of the films straight afterwards, but then summer came and time ran away with me. Now is the time to scratch that itch! (I think I may rewatch the 3rd one too, as I got quite confused). I may even read the books as well.

4 – Finishing unpacking from when we moved house

We’ve lived in our house for 15 months now, and we still haven’t finished unpacking. Before you judge me though (I know I would!) for the first 7 months we were squished into a 2 bedroom apartment that was smaller than our old flat while our building work was completed, and then we were so excited at living in our new space after Christmas that we just put it on the back burner! Now, part of me thinks if stuff has been in storage for 15 months and we haven’t missed it then perhaps we just throw it all away BUT some of the bags are full of my shoes, which means it will be like shopping my own wardrobe, which is technically saving money – very important when you don’t have a job! I actually have a partial tick against this “to do” already, as last week I finally sorted out the big bedroom (which used to be the lounge when it was an apartment) – we’ve been lazy chilled out and sleeping in what will be the guest bedroom up until this point. Now we have oodles of space, a king size bed and 3 windows!

Here’s how it looked before (check out the 90s curtains and brass fittings!)

Old lounge

Old lounge 2

And here’s how it is at this moment in time (yes I have a purple leopard and zebra print duvet cover, what’s it to ya?!)

Current bedroom

There’s still stuff to do, like paint the fireplace, change the carpet, and choose the furniture, but it’s good to finally be in there.

Next on the list is the small bedroom (which will be the husband’s music room for all his CDs and guitars) and the utility room which used to be the kitchen.

5 – Go on holiday

Now this might seem like a very indulgent “to do” for someone who isn’t working but, in my defence, it’s been booked since this time last year. And it’s a “special” holiday – to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We’re flying to Athens for 3 nights and then to Santorini for a week and I’m super excited.

Santorinilead-xlarge

We’ve been talking about going to Santorini since we got together 13 years ago, so it’s been a long time coming, and it was on a travel bucket list post I shared a couple of years back – Athens was on part two of that list where I pondered combining both destinations in one trip. On the basis of ticking them off, I’ll need to replace them and write a new travel bucket list post, right?

What’s on your “to do” list for the next few weeks?

Thanks, as always, for reading. x